If we are, to be honest, building a startup in Africa is not a walk in the park. There are just too many things working against you. Hold that thought, there are some free tools for startups you just have to use.
They make the whole stress worth it.
You need all the help you can get. And that’s why man created tools.
There are endless free and useful products online that can help you launch and build your startup.
Below are some of the really amazing ones.
1. Startup Stash
Startup Stash is the easiest way to find resources and tools that can help you while building your startup. Indexed on the site are 400 resources and tools that will inspire you and equip you to build your business into something truly awesome. According to Product Hunt, 400,000+ entrepreneurs from around the world (literally, all countries!) have used Startup Stash while building their startup.
2. Shake by LegalShield
Shake is a service that allows you create, sign and send legally binding agreements in seconds. It lets you quickly record agreements for everyday transactions that you otherwise might do with a verbal “handshake” agreement.
For example, you’re lending someone you know $300. You might not need a long, intimidating loan agreement, but wouldn’t it be nice to get something in writing? When does the money need to be repaid? Is there a penalty if it’s late? Use Shake to agree upfront on simple questions like this and you can avoid hassles later (not to mention awkwardness and hard feelings).
It’s effective and simple to use.
3. The Name App
What’s in a name? Well, everything apparently when you’re just starting out. The Name App is a free name generator. It helps you search for available and suitable domains and social profiles for your startup. Helpful when first starting and trying to come up with a strong web presence.
4. Content Idea Generator
As the name says, this helps you figure out content ideas.
You answer 18 simple questions about your products and services, and then in less than one second, the Content Idea Generator will generate literally hundreds of great ideas for blog posts, articles, tweets and e-books, videos, podcasts, press releases… and just about any other kind of content that will attract more visitors to your website and get more enquiries about your products and services.
A great tool to help get your creative juices flowing especially the bulk of your marketing efforts involves content marketing.
5. Pablo by Buffer
This is, even more, proof that Buffer is one of the best companies ever. The team at Buffer took the time to speak with a lot of social media managers and small business owners over a couple of months. One theme that kept popping up in the discussions was how much time could be saved by cutting down the process of image creation. Pablo was the outcome of that research.
Pablo lets you design engaging images for your social media posts for free. Probably even easier than Canva, though not as versatile. It’s super quick and easy to use.
SumoMe is a WordPress plugin that offers a plethora of tools to help you grow your email list. There are 100’s of ways to ask your website visitors for their email addresses in return for your irresistible offer. Examples include pop-ups on the top of the page, the side of the page, pop-ups that slide in, pop-ups that wave at you etc. Once SumoMe is installed you will be able to test all of these different options and see which one works best for growing your list. It is a great way for non-techies to do a lot of technical things.
At its heart, Slack is an instant messaging and collaboration system on steroids. Communication is at the heart of every startup and Slack is hands down, the best messaging app for teams.
In a meta turn of events, Slack is also a startup, so no wonder why they just get “it”, it being the need for teams to communicate effectively. Slack can be used across multiple devices and platforms and is equipped with robust features that allow you to not only chat one-on-one with associates but also in groups. You’re able to upload and share files with them too, as well as integrate with other apps and services, such as Skype for video calls, and Giphy for GIFs (for some graphics and usually funny punchlines), and you can easily control almost every setting, including the ability to create custom emojis.
Since you’re a startup, shelling out cash for images is probably non-existent on your budget. Not to worry. With Freepik, you no longer have to purchase images for your projects. FreePik provides thousands of high-quality graphic designs, photos and clip arts for free which can be used for both personal and commercial projects.
9. Google Analytics
Google Analytics helps you analyze your website traffic. You can use it to figure out where your users are coming from, what devices they are using to browse your website, what pages they are visiting, how much time they spend on the site and a lot more critical information about your visitors. There are advanced options like event tracking ( to track clicks, downloads, video plays etc. ) and A/B testing which you can use once you’ve become familiar with the setup.
10. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is a free product offered by Google to manage the health of your website. You can use it to find HTML improvements, identify crawl errors, manage site links, identify incoming links, identify index status of your pages and a whole lot more.
One of the key features is the ability to submit a sitemap of your site. This enables search engines to quickly crawl your website and discover the important pages. It also helps you by showing which pages are indexed and which are not. Additionally, you get notified whenever something goes wrong with your website. For example, if your site is affected by a malware you’ll immediately get a notice so you can start rectifying that immediately. It really is a must have for any startup.
As a startup, social media is your secret weapon to crushing marketing at budget costs. With Hootsuite, you can schedule your social media updates, set up searches to target specific keywords, monitor your competitors, stay in touch with thought leaders in your niche and do many other tasks related to social media.
The free version allows you to add 3 social media accounts, schedule updates, and set up two RSS feeds. This is more than enough in the initial stages of your startup.
You want to start building your email list from day one. Trust us on this.
MailChimp is a powerful email marketing tool that helps you manage your mailing lists, design bulletproof emails and track the results of your email campaigns. The analytics data is pretty neat and is useful for determining the effectiveness of your marketing campaign so you can optimize your future messages. You can send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free. There are also existing templates which you can edit for your own email campaigns or as inspiration.
Trello is great if you are designing workflow for a project. Your work is organized on boards, which makes tracking your progress easy. You can even add team members and assign them tasks.
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